Rutledge Statement Following the Execution of Inmate Jack JonesMon, Apr 24, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the execution by lethal injection of inmate Jack Jones.
“This evening, Lacey Phillips Manor and Darla Phillips Jones have seen justice for the brutal rape and murder of their mother, Mary Phillips. Mary was performing her job as a bookkeeper in Bald Knob on June 6, 1995, when she was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while her 11-year-old daughter Lacey clung to life a few feet away after being choked and beaten. The Phillips family has waited far too long to see justice carried out, and I pray they find peace tonight.”
Facts of the case and procedural history:
Jack Jones was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death on April 17, 1996, in White County. On June 6, 1995, 17-year-old Darla Phillips dropped her 11-year-old sister Lacey off at Automated Tax and Accounting Service in Bald Knob, where their mother, 34-year-old Mary Phillips, worked as a bookkeeper. A man, who had come into the business earlier that day, and borrowed a book, entered the business again. He then told Lacey and her mother that he was sorry, but that he was going to have to rob them. He ordered Mary to lay on her stomach, and then made Lacey lay down on top of her mother. After retrieving the cash out of the register, he took them into a small break room. The man took Lacey into a bathroom off of the break room, tied her to a chair, then left. When he returned, Lacey, asked the man not to hurt her mother, to which he replied, “I’m not. I’m going to hurt you.” He began to choke Lacey until she passed out. After Lacey lost consciousness, Jones struck her at least eight times in the head with the barrel of a BB gun, causing severe lacerations and multiple skull fractures. When Lacey woke up, she saw blood and began to vomit. She went back to sleep and awakened later when police, seeing her bloodied body and thinking she was dead, were taking photographs of her.
Police found Mary’s body nude from the waist down. A cord from a nearby Mr. Coffee pot was wrapped around her neck and wire was tied around her hands, which were positioned behind her back. According to autopsy results, Mary died from strangulation and blunt-force head injuries. Rectal swabs indicated that she had been raped before she was killed.
Jones admitted to the police that he had committed the crimes because he wanted to get revenge against the police. He reasoned that his wife had been raped, and that the police had done nothing about it.
The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed Jones’s conviction and sentence in 1997, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for writ of certiorari. Jones filed a Rule 37 post-conviction petition in the trial court in 1998, which was denied and the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the denial of relief in 2000.
Jones then filed a federal habeas corpus petition in 2000. The district court denied relief on November 8, 2004, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit dismissed his appeal on June 14, 2006. His petition for writ of certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 13, 2006.
Rutledge Statement on the Passing of Former Congressman Jay DickeyFri, Apr 21, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement on the passing of former Fourth District Congressman Jay Dickey.
“It would be hard to find a kinder man who enjoyed nothing more than traveling the Fourth Congressional District, telling stories and visiting with the people he represented than Jay Dickey. No matter the job he held or where it took him, Jay never forgot his south Arkansas roots. During his time in Congress, he worked tirelessly to help the Fourth Congressional District grow and prosper and to help solve any challenge facing his constituents. Jay was a man of deep faith, and I know he met his Lord and Savior when he left us on this earth. May God bring comfort and peace to Jay’s family and friends and all those across Arkansas who loved and knew him.”
Rutledge Statement Following the Execution of Inmate Ledell LeeFri, Apr 21, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the execution by lethal injection of inmate Ledell Lee.
“Tonight the lawful sentence of a jury which has been upheld by the courts through decades of challenges has been carried out. The family of the late Debra Reese, who was brutally murdered with a tire thumper after being targeted because she was home alone, has waited more than 24 years to see justice done. I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family.”
Facts of the case and procedural history:
Ledell Lee was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in Pulaski County in 1996. In February 1993, Lee strangled and beat Debra Reese with a tire thumper, resulting in her death. On the morning of the murder, Lee had been going door to door in Reese’s neighborhood asking to borrow tools. Lee, a serial kidnapper and rapist, targeted Reese after he discovered she was home alone. Reese was last heard from when she telephoned her mother to tell her about the encounter with Lee, which left her uneasy. Reese’s battered body was discovered in her bedroom later that same day.
The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed Lee’s conviction and sentence on direct appeal in 1997. Thereafter, Lee filed a petition for post-conviction relief that was denied by the circuit court, and the denial was affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court on appeal. Lee’s petition for post-conviction relief was reconsidered by the circuit court after a U.S. District Court judge found that Lee’s post-conviction counsel might have been impaired during the proceedings. Following a hearing on his amended petition for post-conviction relief, Lee was again denied relief by the circuit court, and the Arkansas Supreme Court again affirmed the denial on appeal. Lee also sought relief in a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in federal court, and it was denied. Lee unsuccessfully tried to appeal the denial, first to the 8th Circuit Court and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lee filed an application for executive clemency citing separate conflicts of interest with counsel and the trial judge, reasonable doubt as to his guilt, an offer of a life sentence from the State and a change in societal acceptance of the death penalty as bases for relief. A clemency hearing was held on March 24, and Lee’s application was denied.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Faulkner County Man for Crimes Involving ChildrenTue, Apr 18, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of Jason Blade Coppock of Mayflower on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.
Coppock, 26, was arrested by the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department on warrants obtained by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. He is being held in the Faulkner County Jail on $250,000 bond.
Special agents in the Attorney General’s office began investigating Coppock after agents determined that someone using a computer at Coppock’s address downloaded sexually explicit material involving children.
Rutledge Statement Following U.S. Supreme Court Refusal to Lift Stay of Execution on Inmate Don DavisMon, Apr 17, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement tonight after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected her request to lift the stay on Inmate Don Davis’ scheduled execution.
“It is heartbreaking that the family of Jane Daniel has once again seen justice delayed. Davis was convicted of his crimes in 1992, and my office took every action it could today to see that justice was carried out. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court has the final say and has decided not to lift the stay at this time.
“There are five scheduled executions remaining with nothing preventing them from occurring, but I will continue to respond to any and all legal challenges brought by the prisoners. The families have waited far too long to see justice, and I will continue to make that a priority.”
Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Business ServicesThu, Apr 13, 2017
Says, ‘These unlawful actions and misrepresentations by this Florida company are wrong and must be stopped’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a consumer-protection lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Florida-based U.S. Business Services LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Using what looks like an official government tax notice or notification, U.S. Business Services has managed to convince many unsuspecting Arkansas business owners that they are failing to follow the law and that, for a fee, the company can help,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These unlawful actions and misrepresentations by this Florida company are wrong and must be stopped before more are harmed.”
U.S. Business Services solicits business in Arkansas via direct mailings and offers to prepare and provide, for a $150 fee, corporate consent records in lieu of meeting minutes that fulfill the requirements of Arkansas law. However, U.S. Business Services selectively quotes portions of Arkansas law to convey only those portions that would legitimize the solicitation, and the mailed documents are specifically designed to give the average consumer the impression that it is official in nature and required by a government entity.
To date, the office has received 32 complaints about the business practices of U.S. Business Services, and many others have contacted the office by phone in order to report the scam. Of the 27 consumers who have filed formal complaints, at least three of them paid $150 to the company as the form instructed. After speaking with the Secretary of State’s office, Rutledge learned that it had also received numerous reports, inquiries and complaints regarding U.S. Business Services’ harmful practices.
Rutledge is asking the court to impose civil penalties, restitution, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against U.S. Business Services. If consumers in Arkansas have paid U.S. Business Services and have not already contacted the Attorney General’s office, please file a consumer complaint at ArkansasAG.gov.